Over the last few days we have discussed the more recent games and talked a lot about how things are with the club currently so I thought it would be nice to have a little debate about our potential future stars and have a glimpse at what our famed youth academy has in store for us. To me our youth academy looks very exciting but I do have a couple of burning questions that I hope you are able to help clarify.
Now I will hold my hands up and say that I am not the foremost expert on the youth academy but do try and keep a keen eye on it. I am sure that there will be comments today from those who have a more in depth knowledge than me on the academy players. The intention in this post is not to lecture to and to try and educate you on the subject but more to open up a discussion point for the day. I am hoping that the various comments will bring further knowledge so that we all end the day more enlightened.
Before I go further I do have one question that tends to play on my mind regarding our youth academy. It seems to me that we historically don’t see many young players graduate to our first team that have been with us from the very beginning. When you think about most of the youngsters that have (or will) become top class, the majority seem to have started their early youth career elsewhere. I can only come up with Ashley Cole, Keiran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere as top players that were with us from the beginning and wonder why this is so. Are we only excellent at finishing their development after a certain age and is there something wrong with our youth training in the younger age group, or is it simply a numbers game that you are looking for that rare natural gem that could be anywhere, and their early training is only a small part of what constitutes a world class player? I guess it is the nature and nurture argument.
The current squad for me is already very good but I also believe that we will buy significant players in the summer transfer market. There still seem to be a couple of I’s to dot and T’s to cross in the squad to balance it out and bring it up to the top level, and I can see this happening in the summer. The current squad and the potential further quality additions to it leaves me very excited about where Arsenal are heading, but if you then look further at some of the quality young players coming through the youth ranks, that could be added to what we already have and what may be coming in, it becomes more exciting still.
If we are considering potential transfers in the summer for a certain position I feel it is always relevant to look and see if we have the players coming that could take up that role first. That is the Arsenal and the Arsene way and I for one would not change that. Opinions are often flung out there as to how many players we need to buy to make this team fully competitive but, it could be that we have a quality player that is earmarked for the first team in 2 years, so any transfer activity in that position may have to be of the right age to bridge that 2 year gap.
For instance we need a striker but then where do we sit with Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom. I was very impressed with Akpom in the pre-season games and actually thought he would feature more for us this season but for whatever reason he hasn’t. Do we now need to add a young high quality striker to our ranks or do we already have one and therefore only need an older more experienced striker to bridge a 2 year gap? We may need another right back if Sagna leaves but how good or ready is Bellerin? Some would like to have Cesc back and while I can see that argument have any of you seen young Dan Crowley in action?
So over to you A.A’ers. Who excites you the most from our academy? Who do you think will make it into the first team and when? In the mean time here is some footage of our 6-1 win over Peterborough. Akpom looks good but I think you will all get a little sense of excitement about a certain young Dan Crowley.
Written by GoonerB